Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home
It snowed, snowed, and then snowed some more.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Don't look at me, I'm still here!!
Well fall is here and we are going into winter. The cows are on Willow Creek, of course there are those few that we haven't captured quite yet, but the calves are sold and things are suppose to be settling down now. Yep there is that word again 'suppose', and this is another one of those 'you have got to be kidding' stories. When you have cows that have just gotten rid of their calves and are feeling the freedom of being single again, then throw in 150 1st calf heifers, nothing is going to go the way you plan - NOTHING!!! Clay tells Jay and I that the DWR is coming to look at the meadows on the Creek before winter to make sure that everything looks up to par. The cows can only be on the DWR land from December 1st to the end of March, and they know it. I don't care how well Jay builds the fences the cows will lay on the fence line until they get through. The day before the visit I had went back up on Winter Ridge to catch some of our escaped 1st calf heifers who had slipped through one of Jays fences, and then we had planned on making a quick run down to Willow Creek and move the 5 cows that we knew were at Bull Canyon back down to the private land. We would just come back up Winter Ridge and haul the heifers home. That was our plan, but the cows must not have gotten the memo because they weren't having any part of it, we were going along as planned until we got to the private and then everything that could go wrong did. I often wonder if the cows get a kick out of watching us run around looking like fools.

Just as we got to the private with our 5 very fat and full of green grass cows, we were met by their very full of green grass friends coming the opposite direction in an all out stampede. Since we had went up the north side of the creek and then come back on the south side, the gate at the Pig house was still open - not a smart move. This was one of those 'hind site moments'. If the cows made it past there we were going to be in trouble!! We had only took the 4 wheeler because we knew that we would have no problem with the 5 cows coming back down so there was no need for horses until we met the rest of the cows heading the other way. At first it was 2 humans to stop 250 cows, but the cow count was growing by the moment so either a gate was open or they were crossing the creek which surely could not be happening since Jay had been fixing the fences in order to keep them on the private. One thing about working with cows you never have a chance to finish one thought before you are caught completely off guard again, this would be the glimpse of Jay coming towards us with the fence stretchers and roll of wire. Yep, we were in trouble for sure. It was about 4 pm and the sun was on it's way down and it is really hard to see black cows in the dark!!

I jumped off the wheeler and left Roger flying back and forth across the field at dusk, with no tread left on the tires and about out of gas. Jay was on foot running back and forth across the same field at dusk that Roger was flying across wildly with the 4 wheeler.  I had jumped off the the 4 wheeler and was on my way across the very cold creek in my not-so-waterproof winter boots, this was the first of many trips through the icy creek that night, but being a woman I sent Rusty through first to check how deep it was, not that it mattered because I didn't see anyone coming to take my spot. The only good tool that I had to try to stop the cows was Rusty, and lets face it although he has made huge improvements he is still a puppy and hasn't finished developing his 'listening ears' yet, but he will work his behind off for you until he gets bored. I sent Rusty on a 'way to me, way out', and he went, then he came back on a 'there', then turned and went back across the cows on another 'there'. I was seeing a miracle for sure, Rusty was working and listening, and he was turning the cows back. We had stopped them, the first surge anyway. Roger and Jay were pushing the cows through the gate on their side of the creek and they were coming back around on my side of the creek, so I yelled at Jay to get up on the road where they were crossing and try to stop them from crossing, but the cows only cut off of the bank of his side and crossed in front of me and behind Roger, so this meant that I was going to have to run back through the creek to stop them on the other side.  By this time it was pretty much dark, but there are a few sounds that you don't need to see what happened, you just know it has happened. There is no mistaking the sound of a gate being removed from the posts and drug down the road around a cows neck, and you can't miss the sound of a green grass cow running past you with the green grass squirts. You will have to use your imagination for this one, but here it goes. 2 very angry cow pokes running around and 1 crazed maniac on a 4 wheeler, trying to stop an entire herd of cows in the dark on a field that has just has a fresh coating of green grass poop EVERYWHERE, and you can't forget a pup that has an attention span of a peanut or maybe now a walnut!!!

The Pig House
I will be honest, sometimes I say a bad word or two. On this occasion I might have put a few of them in my next paragraph, because it registered with the guys, who have mastered the skill of never hearing anything I say to them.  Roger was now flying up the road on the 4 wheeler to get the gate shut at the Pig house and Jay was running towards the big hole in the fence line. I took off running for the south side of the creek to get the cows stopped before they made another big hole in the next fence line, only on this trip through the creek in the dark, I stepped into a hole that was as deep as my legs. Yep there was no more of a need to send Rusty through first or worry about getting more ice cold water in my boots because I now had my pockets full of icy water.  By this time Rusty was really bored with the entire process so he was just hanging out with me in the creek hoping that someone would come looking for me and none of these super stupid cows would come off the bank on top of me because there was no way to climb back out when you are a bit short on altitude.  I stood in the creek waiting to hear Roger coming back down the road, and sure enough after several minutes of standing in the creek up to my behind, he noticed that I was missing so he came looking on the wheeler. Now with his mastered art of never hearing me and the wheeler's engine, I didn't even try hollering for him, so I waited. Pretty soon I heard him calling my name and Rusty bolted out of the creek to go fetch him, so he comes over to the bank and drags me out of the water. I am not sure if Roger just likes to ask me stupid questions, but he came up with "What were you doing in there?" Well hell I was fishing!!! There just comes a time when you know that you need to regroup and try again in the morning, like in a few hours!!

The next morning we head out for the creek at 4:30 am. I left a note for Burt to see if he could go fetch our captured heifers from Winter Ridge, fed Ruffles and the chickens, and flew to the creek so we could get some hay on the truck and be in front of the cows before they made it any further up the creek. Just as we were coming around the corner into the haystack, Jay was already heading out with the fencing material and I think he was a bit shocked to see us roaring around the corner. I had decided that if we could find a horse we would use a horse behind the truck to push the cows back to the private. Of course there wasn't a horse to be found, so we loaded some hay on the truck and headed after our cows. Now usually we honk to get the cows to come to the truck, but no not happening, this is when Roger informed me that the horn didn't work in the truck we were using because he had needed it in his truck, so Jay became the horn, and since Roger had removed the horn he could be the herder. The cows followed us all the way to Main Canyon, Jay and I decided to reward them for being nice to us for once instead of making us look like fools again, so we fed them some hay up Main Canyon where we were hoping they would stay long enough for us to get the fence repaired from the stampede the night before. The hay idea worked so well that Jay wanted to know why I hadn't thought of it the night before, I told him that I had, but it only works if the cows can see the hay!!

The 3 of us went to work on the fence, we had the entire road blocked with our fencing material and looked like we had everything under control by the time the DWR came by. When Clay came by, we must have been looking at him like we had just gotten away with a really big one, but he didn't say anything until later. Clay and DWR go do their inspection of the meadows and they didn't see a single cow, maybe a few horses but horses aren't cows. Later that afternoon, Clay comes back and he said "I think I will go feed them a few round bales to settle them down." Jay, and I looked at each other, and I said, "settle them down, they are being angels today, you have no idea what we have been going through to keep them down here". He did say something about all the fresh poop on the Pig gate, but we acted like we didn't hear him and kept at repairing our fence line.